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Patricia Ruth (Patsy) Esslinger, went home to be with the Lord on August 5, 2018, at Mesilla Valley Hospice/La Posada. She passed peacefully to her eternal home surrounded by loving family members and friends who sang her favorite hymns, prayed, read devotions Patsy had written as well as favorite scriptures from the Bible.
Patsy was proceeded in death by her husband J.L. Esslinger, Jr.; parents, Robert Earl and Very Bryson Huchingson; brother, Robert Earl II.
Patsy was born in Sulphur Springs, Texas. She resided there with her widowed mother, Vera, and older brother, Bob, until age 11 when her mother took a job managing the Western Union office in Eastland, Texas. She and her brother were accomplished singers and dancers from an early age and performed throughout East Texas.
While living in Eastland, Patsy, at 13 years of age, taught dance classes, had a radio show with her brother and was the youngest member of the adult choir at the Methodist Church. Her mother was then transferred to Pecos, TX, before finally moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico, the spring of Patsy’s senior year. Her mother would manage the Western Union office downtown during the remainder of WWII. Patsy’s mother often hand-delivered death notices to close friends in the Las Cruces area.
After Patsy graduated from Las Cruces High, she worked for eight months as tele-type operator at Pyote Air Base home of the B-29 bomber and she often performed at USO shows at the Air Base. She then moved back to Las Cruces and began attending business school and working part-time at the Las Cruces OPA (Office of Price Administrative). It is at this office where she first met the love of her life, J.L., a returning Air Force veteran who came to purchase items for the Esslinger family farm in La Mesa, New Mexico.
After singing in the choir on Sundays at St. Paul’s Methodist Church, within weeks after meeting J.L., Patsy was catching the lower valley bus to La Mesa to sit with Mrs. Esslinger (MaMa Marge) and watch J.L. play left field with the La Mesa Bluejays. J.L. claimed he didn’t know how young Patsy was when they began dating until Katie Griggs, a close family friend, hosted her eighteenth birthday party at Katy’s La Posta Restaurant in Old Mesilla.
Patsy and J.L. were married in 1946, then the young city girl became an amazing farmer/rancher’s wife; sold fresh eggs, separated fresh milk daily to sell or barter, became an excellent cook, took care of a large vegetable garden and fruit tree orchard. Her family especially remembers her home-made fried pies filled with home-grown apricots. She ran a “tight ship” around the remodeled old adobe home, and she always managed to be perfectly dressed with her hair fixed, and make-up applied every day. In her “golden years” friends remarked how Patsy always looked elegant with beautiful accessories.
Patsy was a devoted wife and mother to her daughter, Barbara, and son Gary. She was always involved in her children’s activities throughout their years at home and was a Den Mother to Cub Scouts, attended countless dance and piano recitals, band concerts, junior rodeos and livestock shows.
Patsy gave many hours of service to different volunteer organizations but was most known for her beautiful singing voice, a talent she shared throughout the Mesilla Valley and El Paso. She performed for different church and social events and regardless of denomination, would sing for weddings, funerals and for special events for over four decades.
While still a young mother, Patsy began reading and studying the Holy Bible. Along with teaching Sunday School for many years, she was leader of the youth and adult choirs at La Mesa Methodist Church. She also taught adult Bible study in their home in La Mesa and later in Las Cruces.
Patsy began writing Christian music in the 1970’s with over 60 songs being published. She also wrote poems, short stories and numerous Bible studies. Her legacy includes a “teaching faith” (Psalms 25:5), a prolific writing ability, and a passion for music. Her devotion to J.L. for over 60 years is well known. As a couple, they loved to entertain, were volunteers for home-bound children and were avid NMSU Aggie fans. They especially loved to travel with close friends, Chope and Lupe Benavidez and with the Aggie Booster Club.
Patsy out-lived most of her close friends from La Mesa, but she and J.L. quickly made new friends at Morningstar Methodist Church in 1993 when they built their new home in Las Cruces. After J.L.’s passing in 2006, she made more friends at The Village of Northrise, where she participated in numerous activities.
Patsy was so proud of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They include: Daughter Barbara McKenzie (Mickey); Son, Gary Esslinger (Tina); grandchildren, Mariah McKenzie Pheiffer, Ryan McKenzie (Kathleen K) Tiffany Dudley (Weston), Trisha Esslinger, Tryna Joy Galvan (Marcus) and Devon Esslinger. Also, nine great-grandchildren; Hayden, McKenzie Claire, Christian, Hutch and Liam Pheiffer; Lucy, Michael Anne, and Tess McKenzie; and Hallie Lynn Dudley.
Following a private burial with family members at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery, a “Celebration of Life” service lead by Rev. Ross Whiteaker, will be held at Morningstar UMC on Saturday, September 8th , 2018 at 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers you may contribute to Morningstar United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 2941 Morningstar Drive, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88011, Mesilla Valley Hospice, Inc., 299 E Montana Ave., Las Cruces, New Mexico 88005 or the charity of your choice.
The family wishes to thank the loving staff at Mesilla Valley Hospice/ La Posada, Dr. Azhar Zahir and Michael Castillo, and a deep appreciation to Adelaide (Addie) Vaquera who helped with Patsy’s variety of needs for the past 12 years. They also wish to thank the many friends who helped with food, visits and prayers, especially members of Morningstar UMC